Who Jesus Is: The Fourth Gospel (John 2:12-25)

In the first part of John 2, we grabbed onto a life-changing statement and we chose to “dig deep and let it steep.” Here’s what it was from John 2:3:

“When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”

Mary made a statement to her Savior. She didn’t tell Him what to do (i.e., she didn’t have power over Him just because she was His earthly mother). In fact, Jesus was deliberate in His response to her. He respectfully addressed her as “woman,” not “mother.” He also reminded her that His sole purpose hadn’t come yet. Jesus wanted to emphasize that there was a different relationship now that His ministry was beginning. And, she got the message because her response was, “Do whatever He tells you!”

This is a good lesson for us, too. Mary was no more important to Jesus than we are, and while we can make statements about our needs, the Lord is the one who decides what’s best for our life!

We also talked about Jesus being present in the home. I asked you to ponder in your heart whether your home was a place where Jesus is invited. Is it a sanctuary of sorts—a refuge or a dwelling of safety and love? Forget about the physical state of your home—whether it’s tidy or cluttered, pristinely decorated or bare-walled—what does the spiritual state of your home communicate to others?

We’re going to continue appraising our spiritual house today in John 2:12-25. First, let’s pray over this time ahead:

Heavenly Father, I desire You to be the King of my spiritual heart. To not just walk around the perimeter, but to be invited into my life and demo, rebuild, expand, purge, and whitewash as you see fit. Take your holy hammer and demolish all the secret rooms I’ve allowed to be erected so that I may clearly see You. Amen.

12 After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples. There they stayed for a few days.

13 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. 15 So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16 To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” 17 His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

-          There were three annual festivals the Jews were required to attend if they lived within 15 miles of Jerusalem: Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. It’s beautiful how John always shows Jesus attending the feasts not out of duty, but out of delight. It was a joy for Jesus to be among His people and He desires us to respond in-kind, so we don’t “…[give] up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25).

-          As we learn about the temple, let’s remember that what was physical in the Old Testament has a spiritual parallel in the New Testament. We also know that “…everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.” This means the Old Testament is still relevant. The entire counsel of God (Old and New) points to Jesus, and we’ll understand this more as we study John 5 and Jesus responds to the Pharisees’ questioning.

-          Jesus walked into the physical temple and He was in a shopping mall of sorts. His holy temple had been slowly compromised and was now a lucrative business of exchanging money and selling the animals needed for sacrifice at a premium price. What was probably, at first, a Jewish convenience for those who traveled a long distance for the feast (they could buy their sacrifice at the temple instead of lugging it along on the journey), turned into a business and not a ministry. People, people…we have too many “church businesses” going on these days. Oy.

-          Jesus is seen “cleansing the temple” and He did it with zeal! Notice that He didn’t whip the people or destroy anyone’s property (He did not release the doves, for example), but He made it absolutely clear Who was in command, just like He did with Mary earlier in the chapter. The temple was His Father’s house and He refused to have religious leaders polluting it.

-          Now that we’ve learned what God’s Word is speaking to us (in context), let’s pause and consider what it means for us. The power of God’s Word is found in being still and allowing the healing salve of His word to be slathered on our soul. If we wipe off the salve and don’t allow it to saturate our heart’s temple, the healing process is slowed significantly. Be still for a moment and practice the discipline of allowing God to speak to your temple—your inner man—so that you might receive cleansing and a passion like Jesus’.

The condition of the temple was a vivid indication of the spiritual condition of the nation. Their religion was a dull routine, presided over by worldly minded men whose main desire was to exercise authority and get rich. Not only had the wine run out at the wedding feast but the glory had departed from the temple. –Warren Wiersbe

18 The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”

19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”

20 They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” 21 But the temple he had spoken of was his body. 22 After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.

-          Jesus was speaking to many who were spiritually blind. That’s why they took what He said so literally (as in, a physical temple would be torn down and rebuilt). Throughout the gospel of John, you’ll find people mistaking spiritual truth and interpreting it to be in material or physical terms. In this conversation with the Jews, Jesus was predicting His crucifixion and resurrection—the singular purpose of His life—along with the end of the Jewish religious system.

o   Jesus is the new sacrifice (John 1:29).

o   Jesus is the new temple (John 2:19).

o   New worship will hinge on inward integrity, not outward geography (John 4:19-24).

23 Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, many people saw the signs he was performing and believed in his name. 24 But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people. 25 He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person.

-          Make note of how many people “…saw the signs he was performing and believed in his name.” There’s that word believe again. This may seem odd to you because if the purpose of John is that we might believe, why then does it say that “Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people”? That’s because there is a difference between believing and committing. James 2:19 says, “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” Even the demons believe there is a God, friends. You are not special in believing that truth or the truth that Jesus can (and does) perform miracles. These Jews who “believed” in Jesus are just like many modern-day “Christians.” They were, like many sitting in the pew next to you, “unsaved believers.” It’s one thing to respond to a miracle, but it’s completely different to turn from your will and respond to Jesus saying, “Come, follow me” (Matthew 4:19).

-          Jesus knows all people. He knows what is in each person and that’s why He says in Matthew 7:21, “Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Jesus knows your heart and He knows my heart and He can easily discern the difference between passive belief and inward commitment.

-        As we close out John 2, I’ll leave you with a reminder from Hebrews 3:15, “As has just been said: ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.’” The Lord is speaking to you. He’s speaking to you about the state of your temple (your heart). He’s speaking to you about your belief v. your commitment. He’s speaking to you about not becoming calloused and hardened as you travel the road to Calvary…the narrow path where your will comes to die. Whether you’re truly committed or not – His voice speaks to you today. Will you be divinely interrupted? Amen.

P.S. If you’re not receiving these studies via email each week, keep scrolling down and sign-up. Next week’s will be John 3 and we’ll study how Nicodemus coming to Jesus at night represents you.